Tuesday, October 22, 2013
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
At present we're somewhat back to "hibernation mode". Matt is back to school and the rest of us are back to work at our day jobs, all the while I am steadily demo'ing out new material and preparing for pre-production for whatever our next release ends up being. We're talking about doing a second leg of touring in support of Native within the next 6-9 months but for now I am focused on expanding the musical compositions of the band for the future. By the mid-point of the last tour I was itching to get back to writing new material and begin toying with the many ideas I roughly sketched out while on the road.
2.How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and also how does it differ from previous releases?
Native is quite a departure in musical style from our previous releases. This album was written and mixed to sound warm, enveloping, and to tell much more of a linear story than we've ever attempted before. Elements of progressive, death metal, and grooviness are thrown in there but I usually just tell people it's progressive black metal, whatever that means.I think the major differences between Native and our past releases lie in my willingness to base songs around chord progressions and the band's collective push towards the progressive side of metal as opposed to the depths of "black metal". It has become really important for me to write songs on acoustic guitar over the last couple years, and every song on this album was at least partially written acoustically. To me, great songs - especially heavy metal songs - should be able to be stripped down into a much simpler delivery without losing any of the meaning and feeling, and that's something I never attempted to do with this band before Native.
3. Can you tell us a little bit more about the song lyrics that you have explored over the years?
Autolatry is has been thematically based around all things New England, including the history behind the hill that Matt and myself grew up on, elements of the natural landscape we live in, and the assimilation of native americans into European customs. However that's not to say our future lyrical content will be limited to strictly writing linear concept albums about our home region. When we first started writing songs for this band, the aesthetic of New England and our love for the region itself felt like a natural creative launchpad for us, and I still think that concept gels nicely with the musical compositions. So far, I'm most satisfied with the lyrical content on Native. While none of us are historians on European conquest in New England, we all enjoyed delving into speculation on what it must have felt like for the native peoples to have their way of life altered suddenly. The concept of "home" really strikes a chord with all of us, and I think writing about the exaltation of one's home really compliments a lot of our music.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name Autolatry
Technically speaking Autolatry means "self-worship". That concept can mean a lot of different things for everyone, and we certainly don't subscribe to any one meaning or doctrine underlying the band. I play this music because I feel the need to get it out - to release it from my soul - and I'm just grateful that so far people have enjoyed it. So for me, the meaning of Autolatry is the pure expulsion of music from the deepest and most personal place.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Over the last two years we've had the privilege to play some fantastic shows with great and bands and great crowds. Most recently, our shows in Raleigh, NC, Saint Petersburg, FL, and Austin, TX stand out as lasting memories and seminal moments of true connection with our audience. About a year ago we were honored to open for Agalloch and Fen at the first (and only) Winter Is Coming fest in New London, CT. It was simply incredible to perform with and in front of some of our idols from the metal world. I like to describe Autolatry's stage performance as dynamic more than anything. When on stage, we are obviously performing for an audience but it always feels like we are just jamming together at our practice space, and I think that feeling is reflected in how we play and act. We all like to to turn around from time to time and lock in with other members of the band. We tend to make a bunch of funny gestures and kind of joke around with each other on stage. We have a lot of fun while playing our songs, despite the intensity of the material!
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Right this second we have nothing concrete, although the idea of another tour in support of Native is being tossed around. Our members are all fairly spread out geographically which makes playing one-off shows more logistically difficult, and we really prefer to play shows in long stretches on tour. I'm hoping to hit the road again still in support of Native but with new material well on the way in spring 2014.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Almost to my surprise, we have not received any label interest after the release of Native. While I believe our independent release was successful, I feel that the band is at the point where we could truly benefit from working with a label to release future music. I'm currently shopping around plans for a split release or two to some labels and looking longer term for a label home for our next full length record.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
Overall the feedback has been extremely positive! Which quite frankly surprised us all a bit. We aren't attempting to play pure and grim black metal, and don't include any of the traditional black metal aesthetics in our image or sound but we have not dealt with any shunning from the black metal elitists. Even though we label the band as "black metal" our target audience stretches much wider than the traditional black metal fan, and I think that has helped a lot with our music being received so well.
9.What is going on with your other full time band these days?
None of us really have another full time band at present. Karl, Matt and I were (and technically still are) in a death metal band called Yildun, but that project hasn't been active for years and plans to complete a full-length record are totally on the back burner. I simply have much less of a desire to play technical death metal than other styles of music. In addition to Autolatry, I'm currently writing an album of rock and roll material and another album of acoustic songs. Those projects combined with Autolatry keep me busy and keep my writing balanced!
10.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
I'm really hoping to take Autolatry further into progressivism as we move forward. Without trying to fit a certain mold or live up to an expectation, this band will continue to evolve after every release. My writing and playing styles have noticeably changed after every album so far, and are bound to continue doing so - so I think another massive left turn in terms of musical sound is inevitable for the future. At some point possibly writing with 7-string guitars and utilizing different tunings could be useful tools in continuing to grow the band musically. More specifically, I think we're moving into more dense chord layerings and song structures, and an emphasis on thicker and beefier guitars all around. However, I really don't have a set plan for what direction the new material will go - I rather just write what I feel and go with it if it works.
11.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listneing to nowadays?
I think the biggest influences have been some of the more modern USBM bands and other groups who utilize intense intense density while also balancing it with headbangable groove. Bands like Krallice and Castevet, like Ulcerate, like Enslaved and Shining all come to mind. Recently though I've been listening to a lot of darker hardcore and crust punk. I think those genres can be great for finding examples of raw, unbridled and passionate emotion in music. Maybe elements of those genres will find their way into future Autolatry material...
12.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Outside of music I'm really into craft beer and homebrewing! It's a great (and extremely metal) hobby to have. Touring is also awesome because as a beer fan (read: snob) I get to sample beers from all around the country that I can't normally get at home. Really everyone in the band is pretty heavily into enjoying craft beer.
13.Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thank you for the insightful questions! We really look forward to hitting the road once again and playing for new and old friends soon. For anyone who hasn't heard or gotten our new album Native yet, you can purchase a physical copy directly from us at http://autolatry.storenvy.com, or a digital version directly from us athttp://autolatry.bandcamp.com where the album is also streaming for free. We appreciate the fuck out of the support - cheers!